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 Post subject: Go as magic - the ramblings of a Go enthusiast
Post #1 Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 11:04 am 
Lives in gote

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Well, it's been a few months I've been around this wonderful place. I let the stones rest for a very long time, and only recently picked them back up again. I did this for the children in my class, some of whom actually really enjoy the game and two even made accounts on OGS. I fully expect them to beat me by the end of the schoolyear if they keep practising.
I've also turned back to some online playing. Was not too bummed about finding out I dropped from about 7kyu OGS to around 10-11 kyu. Honestly I had expected worse. And it seems I'm over my fear of losing. I still don't particularly like it, but it really doesn't bother me. Instead, I'm sort of relieved when I do because it brings me closer to me actual rank, whatever it is. So I shouldn't have to feel stressed to "keep" an "undeserved" rank. I'll end up where I belong, without fear of playing.
But will I be playing?

It's been even longer, but only a few hours ago, I saw my beautiful Goban standing there, with a layer of dust on it (think Hikaru No Go). In a bookcase I saw Invincible, the games of Honinbo Shusaku. I opened it at a random page, and started putting stones on the board.
I was transfixed. It was magical. The magic of Go overwhelmed me and I felt butterflies in my stomach, almost like being in love. The sheer aggressiveness and cleverness of Shusaku's opponent, the calm moves by Shusaku in response. I'm still in awe.
This is not the same game that I sometimes play online. It's not even close.
Somewhere down the line, being obsessed with my own playing, I forgot the sheer beauty this game can have.

It makes me realize I don't like my own playing, at all. It's not the rank. Because I loved playing Go at 18 kyu, and I'm a lot stronger now, still. It's that I feel so uninspired. I see a board and I have no idea what to play. Either I fall back on moves I know and play way too often, or I turn to some random move without reading things out. Either way, it feels without purpose, it feels uninspired, it feels very bland. The sheer enjoyment of the game seems gone and I'd love to get it back, but I just don't feel it.

I might replay some more older Go games in the coming days and weeks. They move me in a way my own playing certainly can't. And why older games? Well, because I'm sick about hearing about the robot in Go. This is a personal thing, but the robot games don't move me at all. Although impressive, it feels soulless and I'm someone who loves stories and feeling and humanity. Shusaku's games, for example, breath passion. Even through the pages of an old book.
As for playing myself, I guess time will tell. Maybe some day this blockage will be gone, and I'll be inspired and free again. Maybe I'll never regain that flame on a go board. But I really hope I will.

Thanks for reading my ramblings. Hope everyone's been well here, throughout all the events that 2020 had to offer us so far.

This post by Ian Butler was liked by 3 people: Bonobo, gennan, yakcyll
 Post subject: Re: Go as magic - the ramblings of a Go enthusiast
Post #2 Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 3:17 pm 
Lives with ko

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yeah i have no idea how strong i am.
i've beaten 9 dans and lost to 15 kyus.
i've taken to playing my games on a physical board as well when i play online.
it helps me visualize the position.
i still play chess here and there, but go is the game i keep coming back to.

 Post subject: Re: Go as magic - the ramblings of a Go enthusiast
Post #3 Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 11:28 pm 
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Hi Ian,

glad to hear that you are still around and continue to teach Go to children.

Even if we understand little and our way of thinking is very different from pros, we can still appreciate the beauty of their games, and this brings a different kind of enjoyment than the one we get from playing. However, just looking at other people's games is not enough for me, I want to participate at my level.

I've sometimes had the same frustrations about rank as you. This summer, OGS ranks have been reset, my OGS rank was kicked from 4k to 6k, so I thought it would be easy to gain back my previous rank with a few quick games. The result wasn't what I expected: the more I lost, the quicker I played, and the quicker I played, the more I lost... until my rank went down to 9k. Since then, I decided to never play blitz games online again but only choose reasonably long time settings, for instance 20 minutes main time + 5x30s byo-yomi, and only play when I am in a good physical and mental condition, and willing to read variations at each stage of the game. Winning or losing is not important as long as I did my best.

But playing on a real board is a more enjoyable experience than playing online. I hope one of the kids will become strong enough to play challenging games against you!

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